: Manjari Mukul is a renowned Creative Director in the telly industry with oodles of experience under her belt… Here she shares her 11 years journey of being in Mumbai.

2005, July 29th in the midst of all chaos of 26th July, I was here in Mumbai with my friend Anushka. Immediately I fell in love with this city. It was love at first sight. It seems I have always belonged to this city. On the second day in Mumbai, I got my first job as Assistant Director in Balaji Telefilms for the show ‘Hum Paanch’ in its second season. It was indeed a dream come true, and when I met the cast of the stellar shows Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, Kasautii Zindagi Kay, the hit shows of that time, I really felt I was dreaming. Initially, I worked as an intern for the first three months. Post this, I got shows Kab Kyun Kaha, Parivaar, Jaha Pe Basera Ho, Ranbir Rano.

Everyone says and it is true that as a creative, I don’t have time for myself. But I love my job because it is my choice. No one has forced me to be in this industry.

I have heard a lot of ‘struggle’ stories, but seriously I have never had any struggle story. I have never sat idle in these 11 years. My mom was always there to support me. The only struggle I have faced in Mumbai has been the health problems. I am still struggling and you know what…. The interesting point in my career is that no one gave me the promotion. I only worked hard and got promoted from being a costume ad to chief ad and then to associate director.

Now getting back to my non-struggle journey, the turning point in my career was when I decided to switch from associate director to creative. I joined DJ’s – A Creative Unit and worked in shows Mere Ghar Aayi Ek Nanhi Pari on Colors, Chhoti Bahu on Zee TV, and Maryada .. Lekin Kab Tak on Star Plus. The last two shows gave me some lifetime friends… I have learnt a lot from these two shows. And of course, I learnt a lot from Deeya M’am and Tony Sir. I really thank them from the bottom of my heart. Everyone says and it is true that as a creative, I don’t have time for myself. But I love my job because it is my choice. No one has forced me to be in this industry. But yes, I agree that there is a lot of chaos which can be sorted if easily planned. All departments working on a show have to come together and raise an issue. But unfortunately, it is not happening and we are all working 24*7. Seriously I don’t remember the last time when I slept well. But that’s the way this industry is. I have realized that if you are honest with your work, you will never face a problem of being jobless. So please work honestly wherever you are working.

After being for 11 years in the industry, I have realized that no one is your friend; everyone is nice to me only because I am the Creative Director

When I was working in Maryada, I met that-time Creative Director and Producer Damini Kanwal Shetty (M’am) and Raj Shetty (Sir). This is when our bonding started. When they started their own company Mystic – An Entertainment, I was part of it with the first show, Bani Ishq Da Kalma. We saw a lot of ups and downs in that show and it was a learning curve for us.

After being for 11 years in the industry, I have realized that no one is your friend; everyone is nice to me only because I am the Creative Director. However there are very few people who actually care for me. Honestly, somewhere I have also become like that. But that’s the way life is… By the way, between all this I forgot to mention that I have done Sasural Simar Ka on Colors and Tu Mera Hero on Star Plus for a brief span.

I am now very happy doing crime (laughs); it has been one and half years. I am working as the Creative Director on Crime Patrol Dial 100 on Sony TV. Crime Patrol has been a very different experience. After doing so many daily soaps, Crime Patrol turned out to be the breathing space for me. We never get bored of doing CP. Every episode is such a challenge for us.

Apart from all this, I have worked in a Kannada show as well… Yes, don’t be surprised. No, I am not a South Indian and I don’t know anything about the language. But I have still worked on a Kannada show for Colors Kannada titled ‘Kinnari’ and ‘Tulasidala’. It was an awesome experience working with the South team. I love to be in Bengaluru and work with my South team. They are superb to work with. OK, now let us get back to Mumbai…

Nowadays, it is ‘crime and crime’ alone which makes me happy. I think I should end now. I have written a lot about my work and life. Before signing off, I want to thank all who have supported me and loved me. A big thank you to all of them who were not with me, as that gave me the courage to move forward alone.

Thanks to Mumbai… this city has given me a lot. Though I studied from Rajasthan, Lucknow and New Delhi, I am basically from Bihar and luckily, I have never suffered here being a Bihari.

Last but not the least, thank you to Indianwikimedia.com who gave me the chance to tell my 11 years journey in Mumbai. At the end of it, I want to say one thing – believe in yourself, be positive and keep on moving. Very soon you will achieve your goal. Do not get disappointed with one failure because it is God’s way to tell you that you deserve more…

(As told to Srividya Rajesh)

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